New Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Guidelines

A recent article published in the New England Journal of Medicine has published a set of guidelines to follow for the optimal heart-healthy lifestyle. These guidelines come from two sponsoring organizations – the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association – and are based on the connection between diet, nutrition, exercise and cardiovascular disease.

“The findings, as published on are as follows:

The authors recommend consumption of a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and incorporating low-fat dairy products. Recommended protein sources include fish, legumes, and poultry; recommended sources of fats include vegetable oils and nuts.

They identify three plans that exemplify this dietary pattern: DASH, the USDA Food Pattern, and the AHA Diet.

Additional recommendations for lowering LDL include a dietary pattern that derives 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat and a reduction in the percentage of calories from trans fats.

Additional recommendations for lowering BP include restriction of sodium intake to no more than 2400 mg per day — and, if possible, to 1500 mg per day. Evidence exists that reduction in sodium intake of approximately 1000 mg per day reduces CVD events by approximately 30%.

The DASH dietary pattern has been shown to be beneficial for reducing BP in a wide range of subgroups, including women and men; African-American and non–African-American adults; older and younger adults; and hypertensive and nonhypertensive individuals.

Recommendations for physical activity to reduce LDL, non-HDL cholesterol, and BP include three to four sessions of moderate-to-vigorous–intensity aerobic activity per week, lasting an average of 40 minutes per session.”